How Is Guilt Shown In The Scarlet Letter

576 Words3 Pages
To start an essay about two different characters handling their guilt in two completely different ways with ONE quote would be injustice, so I start it off with two; Said no better than the great but under read (maybe due to his Latin language that was never translated) playwright Plautus “Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man conscious of guilt.” Not only conscious of guilt but having it constantly affect him, Reverend Dimmesdale cannot recover because he does not have the luxury of coming clean to the community. However, as the great Irish poet and writer Oscar Wilde once said, “It is the confession, not the priest, that gives us absolution.” Hester Prynne deals with her guilt by battling adversity and admitting her wrongs, ultimately being forgiven by society. Both Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale, of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter, have their share of guilt. However, the way’s they go, or are allowed to go, about dealing with it is greatly different.…show more content…
Dimmesdale is forced to hide his identity as the father of Pearl, the daughter of Dimmesdale and Hester, to not compromise Hester’s bold attempt to keep his paternal connection secret. He is affected psychologically and his anguish deepens as the story progresses; no help to Chillingworth, the real father (what a love triangle, eh?), who is stoking Dimmesdale’s psychological suffering as if it were a camp fire that keeps him happy and warm. Dimmesdale’s psychological affliction also makes him live in physiological agony as seen by the “paleness of his cheeks” (99) and his “troublesome chest cavity” (187). Because Dimmesdale hides his shame by trying to appear collected towards the community, he “burns in secret” (159) which leads to the climax of his trouble a top the scaffolding where he finally lets out the guilt he has been hiding and falls
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